Blog Archives

Does the Kra Canal Threaten Singapore?

A recent essay in The Independent (Singapore) warns that plans to construct a new canal across the Isthmus of Kra are an existential threat to Singapore. If the Kra Canal truly becomes a reality, ships would certainly consider by-passing the

Posted in Asia, Economics, Politics

Transactions Costs in Strange Places: Geertz on the “Bazaar Economy” of “Modjokuto”

Today I teach the Coase Theorem in my undergraduate Politics and Markets class. In a directed grad reading on Indonesian political economy, we are covering Clifford Geertz’s Peddlers and Princes. I did not anticipate that the two would have much

Posted in Economics, Indonesia, Politics, Teaching

Another Reason why Predicting Financial Crises is Hard

I have a new paper with Christopher Gandrud on prediction and financial crises. The genesis of the paper lies in the debate about why the Global Financial Crisis caught so many people, especially social scientists, by surprise. One argument is

Posted in Economics, Politics, Research

Indonesia Compared

I had the good fortune to attend an excellent conference two weekends ago entitled Understanding Indonesia: Revealing the Mysteries of Asia’s Inscrutable Giant. I’m not sure how many mysteries we revealed, but I definitely learned a lot. As part of

Posted in Economics, Indonesia

Chinese Overseas Workers in Indonesia

This week’s issue of Tempo features several stories on Chinese laborers in Indonesia. The cover is as evocative as it gets: “Welcome, Chinese Laborers,” the title reads. Under the headline “A Flood of Workers from the Panda Country”* [= Banjir

Posted in Asia, Economics, Indonesia, Politics

Ad-hoc-ery in Macroeconomics

Ray Fair recently posted a very interesting commentary on the macroeconomics dust-up between Lucas/Sargent and Solow as described by Paul Romer and commented upon by many others. His position is interesting: he represents the Old Guard of macroeconomics who works

Posted in Economics, Research

The Chinese Growth Differential

This months dramatic volatility in the Chinese stock market has raised the question once more about after twenty years of breakneck economic growth, China’s growth trajectory is sustainable. Many consider a correction of some sort to be inevitable (see for

Posted in Asia, Current Affairs, Economics

On the Disruption of GO-JEK

Back in 2004, when JMP and I were living in Jakarta, we often used Pesan Delivery [= order delivery] to get our favorite food delivered to our apartment. It was great, just call and tell them what you want and

Posted in Economics, Food and Drink, Indonesia, Language

Why Greece 2015 is Not Indonesia 1997

Yesterday, Joseph Stiglitz argued that Greeks should vote “no” on the upcoming referendum to accept or reject the troika’s terms. In response, noted Indonesian scholar and public figure Ulil Abshar-Abdalla tweeted this: Why didnt Stiglitz say this when Indonesia went

Posted in Current Affairs, Economics, Indonesia

Ethnography and Institutions for Development Policy

Chris Blattman recently posted a powerful argument that as development policy, skills training is a bad investment. There is just very little evidence that it is effective. From 2002 to 2012 the World Bank and its client governments invested $9

Posted in Economics, Politics
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